I quote David Geller who lived in my freshman year dorm just down the hall. I respected him for his wisdom then. I respect him for his wisdom now.
The Challenge and Wonder of Being Still
Being still is an essential part of life. When I am still I allow myself to quiet the incessant noise of our culture and my mind, and connect with my inner wisdom, my soul.
My definition of being still includes meditating, eating mindfully, sitting outside and focusing on my surroundings as I look and listen attentively, or going for a walk and noticing what is around me – no phone calls, no podcasts, no music. It also includes journaling about what I am feeling at the moment, and exploring where those feelings are coming from.
When I am still, I am more likely to appreciate what is real, the present moment. I am less likely to think about, obsess about, whatever is next – the next achievement, the next grandchild, the next trip, the next financial milestone.
When I am still, I can discover what I want. Not what I was raised to want – my success script. Not what our culture encourages me to want: more stuff, experiences, more luxury, more money, more recognition, more power, more influence and control. Not what other people want for me: become a blogger, speaker, writer, coach, man of leisure, world traveler.
As I practice being still, I begin to feel the peace and confidence that comes with following my heart and listening to my soul, my inner voice, about what really matters to me and how I want to spend my precious gift of time.
I find it hard to be still. At first, being still for five minutes seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, that is no longer my issue. And other issues remain.
I struggle with the false belief that life is passing me by when I am still. Of course, that is the exact opposite of what is happening. When I am still, I am far more likely to be aware and appreciative of the present, of the life I am living.
I am fearful of what I will discover about myself. After years of climbing the ladder of personal and business success, what if I learn it has been leaning against the wrong building the whole time? Maybe I have been chasing illusions about a great life, and been blind to the things that really matter.
For me, part of being still is accepting what I discover about myself with compassion. I need to remind myself that I have done the best I could at each moment of my life. That I, like everyone else, had moments of trauma, fear, and angst growing up, and that I learned to cope with those events and feelings the best I could.
Most importantly, I need to remind myself that the point of personal growth is not to judge how I lived my life to date, but to discover what is a more meaningful and joyful way to live my life going forward.
What is your experience with being still?
March 27, 2023